Michael Louis Vincent Walsh
5 August 1952
Michael Louis Vincent Walsh (born 5 August 1952) is an Irish music manager and television personality. He has managed Johnny Logan, Boyzone, Jedward and Westlife, four of Ireland's most successful pop acts in the 1990s and 2000s. He later became a talent judge on television shows such as Popstars (2001–2002), You're a Star (2003–2004), The X Factor (2004–2014; 2016–2017), and Ireland's Got Talent (2018–2019).
Michael Louis Vincent Walshwas born in Kiltimagh on 5 August 1952, the son of Maureen and Frank Walsh. He has one older sibling and six younger siblings. He was raised Roman Catholic.
Having moved to Dublin to start his music industry career in the 1990s, million copies. Keating and Walsh later agreed to part company as Keating's solo career reached an all-time high.Walsh decided to create an Irish version of Take That, which the papers picked up on when he advertised the open auditions. The end result was Boyzone, whom he managed to international success with 16 top three singles, six of which were number ones, as well as four number one albums, selling more than 20 million copies worldwide. When Ronan Keating announced he wanted to take a break from Boyzone, Walsh continued to manage his career. Keating achieved a number one hit with "When You Say Nothing At All" in 1999 and also "Life Is a Rollercoaster" in 2000, while his album sold 4.4
Walsh then went back to the boy band formula to create Westlife, which Keating co-managed with Walsh for the first couple of Westlife's number one singles and albums. Westlife were an Irish boy band, formed in Dublin in July 1998. They sold over 50 million records worldwide, a total that included studio albums, singles, video releases, and compilation albums. The group accumulated 14 number-one singles in the United Kingdom. They achieved a total of 26 UK top ten singles over their 14-year career, and achieved the first number one on the UK Singles Downloads Chart with "Flying Without Wings" in September 2004. Despite an earlier bitter feud, Walsh had a public reconciliation with Boyzone on the ITV2 programme Ghosthunting With... in which they explored a network of subterranean streets beneath Edinburgh. In December 2012, he became Union J's manager.
Walsh's first television work was in 2001,[ citation needed ] in the Irish version of Popstars . The following year Walsh appeared as a judge on the UK ITV show Popstars: The Rivals with Pete Waterman and Geri Halliwell. Walsh went head-to-head with Waterman on the show with his girlband Girls Aloud battling it out with Waterman's boy band One True Voice. Girls Aloud's debut single "Sound of the Underground" reached number one in the UK.[ citation needed ] Walsh managed the band to achieve a million singles sales while their debut album went platinum.[ citation needed ]
Walsh also frequently appears on various talent shows on Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ), the most recent[ when? ] being You're a Star . He covered for Simon Cowell as a judge on Britain's Got Talent during series four's Birmingham auditions in February 2010, due to Cowell being ill. He again filled in for David Hasselhoff at the London auditions in the following series when Hasselhoff was unavailable due to appearing in pantomime.
In January 2012, Walsh appeared on the ITV documentary series The Talent Show Story where he was interviewed about being a judge on The X Factor and Popstars The Rivals. Fellow Popstars judge Pete Waterman also appeared on the programme as well as past and present X Factor judges, including Dannii Minogue, Simon Cowell, Kelly Rowland and Gary Barlow.
Walsh appeared from 2004 as a judge, along with Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne, on ITV talent show The X Factor. In 2004, Walsh found chart success with G4, who went on to have a chart topping album and completed two tours of the UK.[ citation needed ] In 2005, Walsh managed the winner Shayne Ward, whose debut single "That's My Goal" spent four weeks at UK number one.[ citation needed ]
In November 2005, Walsh quit the show mid-series out of protest regarding his treatment on the show; the most explicit example being Osbourne's drenching him with water during a live recording. [ citation needed ]Walsh returned on the Saturday evening's live show, stating that he could not abandon his remaining competitor and eventual winner, Shayne Ward. Ward went on to win the competition with over 10 million votes in the final. Walsh then went on to win The X Factor: Battle of the Stars with actress Lucy Benjamin.
ITV announced in March 2007 that Walsh would not return as a judge on The X Factor, but would remain behind the scenes managing some acts from the show. [ citation needed ] Friedman then became the show's creative director. Walsh mentored the Over 25s category in series four. In the 'Judges Houses' stage of the competition, Walsh took his acts to Dublin and invited guest Kian Egan to help him decide whom to take through to the live shows.[ citation needed ]According to UK tabloid newspaper The Sun , the decision to be replaced with two other judges came as a shock to him. He was replaced on the panel by American choreographer Brian Friedman. Osbourne, Cowell, Friedman and new judge Dannii Minogue appeared at the London auditions; however, after the first few days, Cowell decided to re-hire Walsh to the panel and hire Friedman as a choreographic instructor for the live show stages. On 22 June 2007, Walsh confirmed he would be returning as a judge for the fourth series of The X Factor.
Cowell reportedly told Walsh off for his comments about the Spice Girls. Walsh had said that the girl group were "past their sell-by date" and lacking in talent, but Cowell already had plans to book the girls on the show.
In 2008, Walsh returned for the fifth series along with Cowell, Minogue and Cheryl Cole, who was hired after Osbourne quit the previous June. In this series, Walsh mentored the groups, choosing JLS, Girlband and Bad Lashes to represent him in the live shows. Walsh took his acts to Castle Leslie in Ireland during the judges houses stage where he was aided by Westlife star Shane Filan. Bad Lashes and Girlband were the first two acts to be eliminated over the first two weeks, but JLS finished as runners-up.[ citation needed ]
Walsh returned to the sixth series show in 2009, again mentoring the groups for the fourth time in six years. During the judges houses stage, the Groups and Walsh flew to Lake Como in Italy where Boyzone singer Ronan Keating helped Walsh pick his final three. Walsh took Kandy Rain, Miss Frank and John & Edward to the live shows. Kandy Rain were eliminated in the first live results show, from which Walsh was absent due to the sudden death of Boyzone member Stephen Gately.[ citation needed ] Walsh was absent again on the Saturday and Sunday of the second week of live shows due to Gately's funeral on 17 October.[ citation needed ] In week three, Miss Frank were eliminated from the competition, while John & Edward were eliminated in week seven, though went on to have successful careers in the industry.
In 2010, Walsh mentored the Over 28s category on the seventh series of The X Factor. In the judges houses stage, Walsh took his acts to Adare in Ireland. Walsh was helped by former judge Osbourne. His last surviving act, Mary Byrne, was a semi-finalist who finished fifth overall.
Walsh returned to the show in 2011 for series eight. He joined new panellists Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland and Tulisa, who replaced former judges Cowell, Minogue and Cole, all of whom left the show after series seven. This meant that, following Cowell's departure, Walsh became the only original judge left on the programme. During the Bootcamp stages it was announced that he would mentor the Over 25s category for the rest of the competition. In the Judges Houses stage, Walsh took his acts to Barcelona in Spain where he was aided by Cowell's former assistant judge Sinitta. Walsh chose Kitty Brucknell, Sami Brookes, Johnny Robinson and Jonjo Kerr to go through to the live shows. His most successful act of the competition was Brucknell who made it to week six of the live shows before she was eliminated.[ citation needed ]
During the live shows of series eight, in an interview with former judge Minogue, Walsh stated that he did not know whether he would return as a judge in 2012. However, on 3 May 2012, Walsh confirmed he would return for his ninth series alongside Tulisa and Barlow. Former American X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger who replaced Kelly Rowland joined Walsh, Contostavlos and Barlow as the new full-time judge for ninth series.
Walsh filled for Cowell at the Kansas City auditions for season two of the American version while Cowell was recovering from bronchitis. He joined the other season two judges: L.A. Reid, Demi Lovato and Britney Spears, and was introduced with the line, "When Simon needs an opinion from someone he trusts, I'm the man he calls".His episode broke ratings records for the series.
Walsh returned for the tenth series and was joined by Barlow, Scherzinger and fellow original judge Osbourne, who replaced Tulisa. Due to being the only judge to remain for the whole ten years, he was awarded by being assigned the Boys category, instead of the Overs and Groups he was assigned to every year, since mentoring Shayne Ward in 2005. His category consisted of Nicholas McDonald, Luke Friend, and Sam Callahan. McDonald finished in second place to Sam Bailey, mentored by Osbourne. Despite not winning, this was still by far Walsh's most successful year as a judge on the show due to going 5 weeks (breaking a record) without having any of his acts in the bottom two and had two of them (Friend and McDonald) in the final.[ citation needed ]
In 2014, Walsh returned for the eleventh series, while Barlow, Osbourne and Scherzinger were replaced by former judges Cowell and Cole, and new judge Mel B. In 2015, Walsh stated that he was considering not returning to the twelfth series of The X Factor, citing his desire to return to full-time music management.After rumours circulated that he had been fired from the show, Walsh announced his decision to quit the show, stating that he had not been fired, but he was not "hanging around for them this year."
In 2016, Walsh returned as a judge to replace Nick Grimshaw for the thirteenth series, alongside Cowell, Osbourne (who replaced Cheryl) and Scherzinger (who replaced Rita Ora).The same judges returned for the fourteenth series. On 7 June 2018, Walsh announced he had decided not to return for the fifteenth series, in order to focus on music management and other commitments. "The show needs a change and I'm ready to leave," said Walsh in a statement. Walsh was replaced by Robbie Williams.
In 2019, Walsh along with Cowell and Scherzinger returned to The X Factor as judges in the newly created format The X Factor: Celebrity . He was mentor of the winner Megan McKenna, marking Walsh's third overall victory on the show.
In May 2015, it was announced that Walsh, would be launching a new Irish talent show, produced by Cowell, as a judge, set to premiere in 2017 or 2018. Walsh stated that he would like to broadcast an Irish edition of Got Talent , though he stated that the untitled talent show was only in early development. Walsh later confirmed himself on ITV's This Morning as head judge on the show, Ireland's Got Talent , alongside judges Michelle Visage, Denise Van Outen and Jason Byrne. The show launched on 3 February 2018 on TV3 and ran for two series before being cancelled in July 2019.
Walsh has been a judge on sustainable fashion programme Junk Kouture since 2014 and has been joined by celebrities such as Rosanna Davison, Vogue Williams and Michelle Visageon the judging panel in recent years.
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When Ronan Keating announced he wanted to take a break from Boyzone, Walsh continued to manage his career. Keating achieved a number one hit with "Life is a Rollercoaster" in 2000 while his album sold 4.4 million copies. Keating and Walsh later agreed to part company, and then had a bitter falling out. Walsh told the press, "[Keating] wasn't the most talented one – he's not a great singer and he's got no personality." Keating later told Closer magazine, "That man absolutely tried to ruin me and if he thinks we can ever hug and make up he can forget it. I haven't heard from him in three years and I wouldn't have a problem if I never saw him again. He's not a nice character." The feud between the two men had apparently ended by March 2008, and they helped select the finalists in the Groups category in The X Factor .
Walsh sought access to documents which allegedly showed that The Sun UK tabloid paid €700 to a man who made a false sexual assault accusation against him. The man was later imprisoned for the false accusation.The senior counsel for Walsh told Ireland's High Court on 14 May 2012, "The Sun directed the operation to take out Louis Walsh as a public person." On 10 August 2012, the High Court ordered The Sun to give all documents and information to Walsh relating to the preparation of an article in The Sun entitled "Louis Probed Over 'Sex Attack' on Man in Loo". The article was published both in The Sun and their website on 23 June 2011. Walsh sued for defamation of character resulting from the false and malicious allegations and the case was settled out of court. Walsh was awarded damages of €500,000 and €180,000 costs on 28 November 2012. Despite winning the legal case, the false accusations had a "lasting effect" on Walsh who was, as of 2015, suffering from paranoid thoughts and panic attacks as a result of the ordeal.
Walsh was unaware of Stephen Gately being gay when he selected him for Boyzone and said in 2008 that, had he known, he would have thought twice before picking him. He elaborated that he would not have picked Gately because "it wasn't cool then to have a gay guy in a band".Gately died from an undiagnosed heart condition in 2009, at the age of 33.
During an interview conducted by Sarah-Jane Crawford on The Xtra Factor during the semi-final results show in 2014, Walsh groped Mel B by her buttocks. Visibly irritated, she scolded and moved away from Walsh, who said he was only "looking after her". Crawford and the other judges, Cowell and Cheryl, tried to reassure her that she was "safe" while laughing off the gesture. After resurfacing on social media in July 2018, a few months after the Me Too movement began, the clip amassed millions of views on social media; it prompted discussion on the treatment of women by men and drew condemnation of Walsh and the responses of Crawford, Cowell, and Cheryl.Some viewers defended Walsh based on his alleged homosexuality and the justification that he was unaware of what he was doing, while others pointed out that, if it can happen so openly in a public setting, there is a correlation to how frequently it may happen behind closed doors. Walsh stated on 21 July 2018 that he grabbed Mel B's buttocks as a joke, but conceded that the gesture was no longer "politically correct" due to social media reaction.
Misha B, a contestant from the 2011 series of The X Factor , stated in June 2020 that she had been a victim of racism and also fabricated accusations made by Walsh and Tulisa, who were judges on the show at the time. She says that the producers and screenwriters created a narrative to make her appear to be a bully. The X Factor team announced that they would look into the matter.
Simon Phillip Cowell is an English television personality, entrepreneur and record executive. He is the creator of The X Factor and Got Talent franchises which have been sold around the world. He has judged on the British television talent competition series Pop Idol (2001–2003), The X Factor UK and Britain's Got Talent (2007–present), and the American television talent competition series American Idol (2002–2010), The X Factor US (2011–2013), and America's Got Talent (2006–present). Cowell is the founder and sole owner of the British entertainment company Syco.
The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent; the winner of which receives a £1 million recording contract with the Syco Music record label. The first series was broadcast from 4 September to 11 December 2004. The competition was split into several stages: auditions, bootcamp, judges' homes and live shows, with Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell as judges. Kate Thornton presented the show on ITV, whilst Ben Shephard presented the spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2.
The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The second series ran from 20 August to 17 December 2005. Shayne Ward became the winner and Louis Walsh emerged as the winning mentor. The second series was longer than the first, with seven acts in each of the three categories going to the judges' homes, and 12 acts in the finals instead of 9. Kate Thornton returned as presenter of the main show on ITV and Ben Shepherd presented the spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2, while Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Walsh returned as judges. 75,000 people auditioned for the series.
Brian L. Friedman is an American dancer and choreographer.
The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The third series was broadcast on ITV from 19 August 2006 until 16 December 2006. Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell all returned for their third series on the judging panel. Kate Thornton returned to present the main show on ITV, while Ben Shephard returned to present spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2. After the semi-final on 9 December, Cowell became the winning judge even though the series had not yet finished, as two of his acts, Ray Quinn and Leona Lewis, became the two finalists. Lewis won the series on 16 December, with Quinn finishing as runner-up.
The X Factor: Battle of the Stars is a UK celebrity special edition of The X Factor, which screened on ITV, started on 29 May 2006 and lasting for eight consecutive nights. Pop Idol was meant to air in its place as Celebrity Pop Idol but was stopped shortly before transmission, when ITV picked The X Factor over it.
The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The fourth series was broadcast on ITV from 18 August 2007 and was won by Leon Jackson on 15 December 2007, with Rhydian Roberts finishing as the runner-up and Dannii Minogue emerging as the winning mentor. Dermot O'Leary presented for the first time, replacing Kate Thornton, who had been presenting the show since series 1 in 2004. Fearne Cotton replaced Ben Shephard as presenter on the spin-off show The Xtra Factor. The original judging panel consisted of Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Brian Friedman and Minogue. Friedman left the panel halfway through the first audition episode and was replaced by former judge Louis Walsh.
The X Factor is a British reality television music competition, created by Simon Cowell. Premiering on 4 September 2004, it was produced by Fremantle's Thames and Cowell's production company Syco Entertainment for ITV, as well as simulcast on Virgin Media One in Ireland. The programme ran for around 445 episodes across fifteen series, each one primarily broadcast late in the year, until its final episode in December 2018. All episodes were presented by Dermot O'Leary, with some exceptions: the first three series were hosted by Kate Thornton; while Caroline Flack and Olly Murs hosted the show for the twelfth series.
The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The fifth series was broadcast on ITV from 16 August 2008 until 13 December 2008. Dermot O'Leary returned to present the main show on ITV, while Fearne Cotton was replaced by Holly Willoughby as presenter of spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2. Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, and Dannii Minogue returned to the judging panel. Sharon Osbourne left after four series and was replaced by Cheryl Cole. The series was won by Alexandra Burke, with Cole emerging as the winning mentor. Auditions in front of producers were held in April and May, with callbacks in front of the judges in June. The number of applicants for series 5 reached an all-time high with a reported 182,000 people auditioning. A number of well-established music acts from around the world, such as Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Girls Aloud, Take That, Il Divo, and series 3 winner Leona Lewis, performed during the live stages of the show.
The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The sixth series started on ITV on 22 August 2009 and was won by Joe McElderry on 13 December 2009. Cheryl Cole emerged as the winning mentor for the second consecutive year, the first time in the show's history that a mentor has won back-to-back series. The show was presented by Dermot O'Leary, with spin-off show The Xtra Factor presented by Holly Willoughby on ITV2. McElderry's winner's single was a cover version of Miley Cyrus's "The Climb". Public auditions by aspiring singers began in June 2009 and were held in five cities across the UK. Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, Dannii Minogue and Cole returned as judges. This season was the first to be sponsored by TalkTalk after they took over the sponsorship from The Carphone Warehouse. For the first time, auditions were held in front of a live audience. Following initial auditions, the "bootcamp" stage took place in August 2009, where the number of contestants was narrowed down to 24. The 24 contestants were split into their categories, Boys, Girls, Over 25s and Groups, and given a judge to mentor them at the "judges' houses" stage and throughout the finals.
The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The seventh series started on ITV on 21 August 2010 and ended on 12 December 2010. The series saw the creation of the boy band One Direction, from boys who entered the competition as individuals. The winner of the competition was Matt Cardle. Cardle was mentored throughout the show by Dannii Minogue. After the victory, he released his debut single "When We Collide". A total of 15,448,019 votes were cast throughout the series. It was presented by Dermot O'Leary, with spin-off show The Xtra Factor presented by Konnie Huq on ITV2, who took over from Holly Willoughby.
The X Factor in the UK has been subject to much controversy and criticism since its launch in 2004. This has included allegations of conflict of interest, voting irregularities and overcharging, product placement for sponsors, staging scenes, use of pitch correction technology, and exploiting vulnerable contestants. The series has also been criticised for developing singers as marketable products rather than creative individuals. As of April 2020, there have been fifteen completed series broadcast on the ITV network, as well as spin-offs The X Factor: Celebrity (2019) and The X Factor: The Band (2019).
The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The ninth series began airing on ITV on 18 August 2012 and ended on 9 December 2012. Dermot O'Leary returned as presenter of the main show on ITV, whilst Caroline Flack and Olly Murs returned to co-present The Xtra Factor on ITV2. Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow and Tulisa returned as judges. Nicole Scherzinger was confirmed as the fourth permanent judge after Geri Halliwell, Leona Lewis, Rita Ora, Mel B, Anastacia and Scherzinger herself stood in as guest judges for the vacant position left by Kelly Rowland. After the show of 8 December, two of Scherzinger's acts, James Arthur and Jahméne Douglas, became the top two, meaning that Scherzinger was guaranteed to win. Arthur was announced as the winner on 9 December, and released a cover of Shontelle's "Impossible" as his winner's song. As of 2016, it is the most successful winner's single in the show's history.
The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The tenth series began airing on ITV on 31 August, and finished on 15 December 2013. Dermot O'Leary returned to present the main show on ITV and Caroline Flack was back to present spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2, along with comedian Matt Richardson, who replaced Olly Murs. Flack also presented backstage segments during the live shows. Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow and Nicole Scherzinger returned as judges for their respective tenth, third and second series, with Sharon Osbourne returning to replace Tulisa after five series away. This was Barlow's final series as a judge. Osbourne and Scherzinger also departed the series, but reprised their roles as judges with Walsh again in series 13 and series 14.
The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The eleventh series began airing on ITV on 30 August 2014 and finished on 14 December 2014. Dermot O'Leary presented his eighth series of the main show on ITV and Sarah-Jane Crawford presented spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2, replacing Caroline Flack and Matt Richardson. Louis Walsh was the only judge from series 10 to return and was joined by former judges Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Simon Cowell, and new judge Mel B, who replaced Sharon Osbourne, Gary Barlow and Nicole Scherzinger. Former judge Tulisa returned as a guest judge for the final on 13 December due to Mel B being ill. The series also saw the lower age limit decreased from 16 to 14, as it was in series 4 and 5. This was Walsh's final series as a judge before returning in series 13. It was O'Leary's final series as presenter on the main show, as he announced on 27 March 2015 that he was leaving to pursue other projects, before returning in series 13. On 11 May, Crawford also confirmed via Twitter that she would leave her position as The Xtra Factor presenter.
The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The thirteenth series began airing on ITV on Saturday 27 August 2016 and ended on Sunday 11 December 2016. Dermot O'Leary returned to present the main show on ITV for the ninth time to replace Olly Murs and Caroline Flack, who left after series 12. Simon Cowell was the only judge from the 12th series to return; Nicole Scherzinger, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh all returned, replacing Rita Ora, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Nick Grimshaw. Matt Edmondson and Rylan Clark-Neal replaced Rochelle Humes and Melvin Odoom as hosts of The Xtra Factor, which was rebranded as The Xtra Factor Live and was broadcast live twice every week, with Roman Kemp making appearances as a digital presenter and social media reporter. Matt Terry was announced the winner on 11 December 2016, making Scherzinger the winning mentor for the second time. Saara Aalto finished second.
The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. The fourteenth series began airing on ITV on 2 September 2017, presented by Dermot O'Leary. For the first time in seven years, the judging panel remained the same as the previous series, with Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh returning. This is the first series not to include companion show The Xtra Factor, after it was cancelled in January 2017. Its replacement is a programme called Xtra Bites presented by Becca Dudley on the ITV Hub. This is also the first series to be sponsored by Just Eat, with the show having been sponsored by TalkTalk since 2009, as well as the second time the show has premiered in September, rather than August, since the first series in 2004. Rak-Su won the competition on 3 December 2017 and they became the second group to win the competition and Simon Cowell became the winning mentor for the fourth time.
The fifteenth and final series of the British television music competition The X Factor began airing on ITV on 1 September 2018, presented by Dermot O'Leary. Simon Cowell returned alongside new judges Louis Tomlinson, Ayda Field, and Robbie Williams who replace departing judges Nicole Scherzinger, Sharon Osbourne, and Louis Walsh. Nile Rodgers filled in for Williams while he was away on his tour for weeks 3–5 of the live shows. On 2 December, Jamaican-born singer Dalton Harris won the series making him the first and only foreign contender to win the UK show. This was the only series that featured Tomlinson, Field, and Williams as judges.
The X Factor: Celebrity is a British celebrity special edition of The X Factor which premiered on 12 October 2019 on ITV. It is a revamped version of the 2006 celebrity format The X Factor: Battle of the Stars. Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh judged this series, with Dermot O'Leary presenting the series and Vick Hope hosting Xtra Bites on YouTube.